(Updated 6:10pm, 20 Nov 2008)
KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Nov 2008: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil today announced that she would contest the post of Wanita Umno chief at the party elections in March next year.
The two paragraph announcement ended speculation as to whether Shahrizat, the movement’s vice-head, would abide by the power transition plan of Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz or contest the top post in the party elections.
In the power transition plan, Rafidah was to hand over the post to Shahrizat next June.
“Wanita Umno must be united in strengthening the party and be bold in bringing about change and renewal,” she said.
Shahrizat has received 73 nominations to contest the post of Wanita Umno chief. Incumbent Rafidah has garnered 117 nominations.
Shahrizat’s decision puts paid to Rafidah’s power transition plan which had received opposition from many Wanita Umno leaders. They wanted Rafidah to hand over the leadership to Shahrizat in March, in line with the power transition plan of the parent body, Umno.
Shahrizat’s decision to go for the top post was also prompted by the announcement of Wanita Umno executive committee member Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim to contest the post of vice-head which Shahrizat has held since 2000.
Kamilia had said repeatedly that she did not agree with the plan for power transition in June as it was contrary to the Umno constitution.
Rafidah had helmed Wanita Umno since 1984 except for one term when she was defeated by Datuk Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman. Rafidah recaptured the post in the 2000 party elections.
Rafidah first announced the power transition plan in August this year and the Wanita Umno executive committee, at its meeting on 10 Nov, reaffirmed its support for the plan.
The committee also dismissed Shahrizat’s call a day earlier for the Wanita Umno power transition plan to be in tandem with the Umno power transition plan. — Bernama